John Brooks has started off strong for Bundesliga side Wolfsburg and his improvement after an up-and-down 2019-20 campaign has been visible by his manager.
Oliver Glasner has rewarded Brooks with consistent playing time once again this season, with the veteran defender helping Wolfsburg to a 2-0-5 start in league play. While Wolfsburg is tied for the second-fewest goals scored in the Bundesliga, its five goals conceded is the fewest in the division so far.
The 27-year-old has played in every minute of the domestic season so far and Glasner singled out Brooks as a main reason for that early defensive success.
“My experience is that it’s difficult to take it easy from Monday to Friday, then find another gear on Saturday,” Glasner said about Brooks’ work ethic on the training pitch. “You have to show that power during the week.”
“J.A. has taken a big step forward in that respect. My point is that he works to improve in every training session.”
Brooks failed to play in nine Bundesliga matches last season, but did win his starting spot back by season’s end, helping Wolfsburg clinch a Europa League spot. The U.S. Men’s National Team centerback has eclipsed over 200 first team appearances for both Hertha Berlin and Wolfsburg in his career with 160 of those coming in Germany’s top flight.
After seeing center backs Robin Knoche and Marcel Tisserand leave the club this summer, Brooks’ role in the backline has increased with him currently as the third-oldest defender on the roster. Brooks has not disappointed in the early stages of the new campaign which carried over to his first USMNT duty since 2019 over the past two weeks.
Brooks excelled in a scoreless draw with Wales in Swansea, a positive sign for Gregg Berhalter and his coaching staff heading into a busy 2021. Wolfsburg returns to play on Saturday against Schalke before facing off with Werder Bremen to close November’s schedule.